U.S. Moves to Freeze Assets of Iranian Military Quds Force General, Syrian TV Station

The Bush administration moved Wednesday to financially clamp down on a general in Iran's powerful military wing, a Syrian TV station and three other individuals accused of helping insurgents in Iraq.

The Treasury Department's action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States belonging to those named on Wednesday must be frozen. Americans also are prohibited from doing business with them.

Ahmed Foruzandeh, a brigadier general in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force was covered by the department's order. The Quds Force, Iran's special operations unit, is part of the Guard Corps, the country's military wing. The United States said Foruzandeh and his associates provided financial and material support for violent acts against U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq as well as Iraqi security forces.

"Iran and Syria are fueling violence and destruction in Iraq," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "Iran trains, funds and provides weapons to violent Shia extremist groups, while Syria provides safe haven to Sunni insurgents and financiers," Levey said.

Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani, who the U.S. says leads a network of Shia extremists that provide logistical and material support for acts of violence in Iraq, also was covered by the department's order. Ismail Hafiz al Lami, accused of directing acts of violence against Iraqi civilians, and Mishan Rakin Thamin al-Jaburi also were covered by the order.

Al-Zawra TV station in Syria, which the U.S. says is owned and controlled by al-Jaburi, also was named in the department's order. The United States alleges the station has received money from al-Qaida. The U.S. government says the station has aired coded messages through patriotic songs to the Sunni terrorist group, the Islamic Army of Iraq.

The department has the authority to act under an executive order President Bush signed in July 2007. The order allows the U.S. government to impose financial sanctions against those that threaten stability in Iraq.